Private Thomas Harkness


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known at present, other than that, at some time after the war he lived at 1 Underwood Terrace, Banbridge, County Down.

Thomas Harkness enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 4 or 5 January 1915 (No.1380). On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron, which at the time was serving as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division.

In June 1916 F Squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Harkness, were transferred on 20 September and were posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. He was issued regimental number 41182.

He may have seen action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

On 2 July 1918 Harkness was transferred to the 13th (Garrison) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (No.48188). He was discharged on 31 December 1918. (Another record, however, states that he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 27 January 1919.)